5 ways modern technology will prime your business for disruption
There’s always danger in getting too comfortable. Just about any aspect of life can (and will) change – and sometimes overnight. This is as true for people as it is for businesses. For instance, according to Episerver's B2B Digital Experience Report 2020, 17 percent of businesses leaders state that their top threat is “digitally native startups disrupting their industry.”
The best, most prepared companies respond both quickly and effectively to disruptions. In the words of Episerver, “agile marketing teams who can shift at a moment’s notice will always survive and consistently outperform their competitors.”
The lesson here: do not wait until the next disruption to test your tools and processes. Instead, be proactive and secure the platforms that will give your marketers the edge they need right now – so that they will be prepared for changes in the marketplace (and the new expectations that are always in tow with change).
In this blog, we explore five specific, non-negotiable functionalities of a successful, modern marketing technology (martech) stack. These are the features of the technologies that your marketing team needs in order to, not only operate smoothly amid change, but also to give your business a competitive advantage through shifts in the market – and shifts in the world at large.
Agility and responsiveness throughout your martech stack
From brand development and product marketing to sales enablement, marketers rely on an ecosystem of technology resources to carry out all marketing business processes.
We trust that you already have the best professionals on staff, so, your next step is to conduct an audit of your existing marketing technology stack to see if it would hold up in the event of a major business disruption.
The ideal martech stack – with a content management solution (CMS) and a smart, modern digital asset management (DAM) solution at its base – will provide:
- A comprehensive, functional inventory of your content and marketing assets
- Simplification of business processes
- Avenues for easy, efficient collaboration
- Sales enablement
1. A comprehensive, functional inventory of your content and marketing assets
As you review your existing martech ecosystem, start by asking these questions:
- How many pieces of content do you need to make great customer/user experiences?
- How much of this content has your marketing department already produced?
- How many marketing assets do you already have that can be pieced together to make great content?
- Where are these assets and are they easy to use for content execution?
These are simple questions, so if you can’t answer them with simple responses, then your marketing ecosystem lacks the maturity required to respond quickly and adequately to change, and to then outperform competition. After all, over the course of your company’s digital marketing history, your marketing department could easily have produced more than a million digital assets and pieces of content – material that can be redirected for plenty of future campaigns.
Ensure that you can take advantage of all this content by establishing a centralized, comprehensive nucleus for all of it. Enter: a sophisticated DAM solution, which will provide this kind of inventory for all published, produced, and in-progress content. The Digizuite DAM, for example: it stores, tags, and catalogues all files based on metadata so that searching for exactly what you need is quick, simple, and accurate.
It is only through this kind of system that your company will ever have a full handle on all your assets throughout each their lifecycles. And, hopefully these lifecycles are long and multidirectional, which only results from content atomization – the process of taking one piece of content and breaking it down into smaller components so that marketers can rearrange it all in a multitude of different ways to create many more fresh pieces of content.
A DAM provides the hub of functionalities that marketers need to find, manage, optimize, atomize, and even create content. Without a centralized platform to manage all the content that represents your brand, you simply will never perform at the speed, or produce the level of quality, you need to properly respond to change.
2. Simplification of business processes
Versatile, resilient companies don’t work harder than their competition. They work smarter. That is, they leverage digital solutions to simplify and streamline processes both to eliminate error potential, and to free marketers from the shackles of administrative tasks. Without this burden, creative professionals can spend more time adding the kind of value that differentiates your brand from that of other players in your market.
Your martech stack should have platforms that automate repetitive processes so that, especially in the event of change, marketers waste no time and can fully focus on the things that only humans can do.
Take a modern DAM platform: a platform built with automation so that the platform will set up repeated tasks to happen automatically. For example, every time you download a file in one format, the system will automatically convert that file so that it is available in an infinite number of qualities and formats – all while still preserving the source file.
Also using a DAM, you can set up workflows that ensure the right version of every file – pictures, videos, PDFs and even immersive content like 3D and 360 content – is always posted to the right place. When your brand goes through changes – no matter how sudden those changes are – a DAM ensures that any change you make to a logo, image, or any other brand asset, is reflected everywhere – with just one click of a button.
With the aforementioned examples, it’s easy to see how automation makes it simple for marketers to produce and distribute content at the same time as achieving branding and regulatory compliance.
Achieving the ideal level of simplicity goes even further than automation though. Think: integration. The more integrated your ecosystem is, the simpler it is – and as a result, more it conditions your marketing department for change.
Look for solutions that fully connect with one another so that even when your marketers are using multiple technical tools, it is as though they are just logged into one solution. For instance, a marketing team that uses Episerver's content management system can access everything stored in their Digizuite DAM directly from their CMS. Episerver also connects with many other marketing technology platforms to create automated workflows that involve forms, emails, and other automatic (and personalized) touchpoints with customers and prospects.
These are just a few examples of how modern marketing technology reduces complexity for organizations across every industry. Without automation and synchronization for your marketing department, your company will never be optimally prepared for an industry disruption.
3. Avenues for easy, efficient collaboration
A marketing team that can “roll with the punches” is one that has mastered the art of end-to-end collaboration. Especially these days, with more people than ever working from home, every enterprise must accommodate employees being in different locations, working different hours, and with other varying factors. And industry disruptions and other unplanned changes just add to any organization’s need to facilitate collaboration. As a result, every component of your marketing stack must make it easy for team members to quickly communicate with one another, business partners, and, ultimately with clients.
The content management system you need, like Episerver’s platform, come with project collaboration functionalities that connect multiple content contributors. When you create content in a collaborative CMS like one of Episerver’s solutions, it is easy to track and understand the progress and status of every project – for example, who must complete what for every bit of content to be ready for customers.
Similarly, the Digizuite DAM allows marketers to work with each other instead of working alongside one another. It creates feedback loops that include input from stakeholders, marketing leadership, and individual creative contributors, which is important, considering that “two (or more) heads are better than one” when it comes to yielding high quality content.
Within this collaborative DAM, marketers can use annotation features to post comments directly to relevant assets – on images, videos, and/or documents. Digizuite users can also communicate with each other through discussion threads.
Platforms like Episerver Content Cloud (content management system) and the Digizuite DAM come together to provide the environment that marketers need to collect feedback and react to changes rapidly. They provide the foundation for marketers to be able to quickly produce and distribute high quality, accurate, and relevant content. Communicating with clients amid change is extremely important, and the sooner you can reach them with messaging, the better you will control the narrative.
When marketers talk about governance, they are talking about the processes that are in place to establish “clear accountability for digital strategy, policy and standards” (Content Marketing Institute).
In an era of decentralized marketing teams, governance has perhaps never been more important. When there is such widespread potential for error, there must be set-in-stone systems for quality control.
For companies who set out to be ready for anything, “governance – quality, brand consistency, and making sure that content is available only after it goes through the necessary approval processes – should not come at the expense of speed and agility,” in the words of Digizuite CEO Kim Wolters. The good news is: you can have your cake and eat it, too, when you rely on technology to address your governance procedures.
For both quality control and security, every solution in your martech stack should come with access control settings so there is strict control over who has access to what – whether it is the assets in your DAM or the content in your CMS. You can also set up approval-for-use workflows in the Digizuite DAM and Episerver solutions so that no one on your marketing team ever uses the wrong material or distributes content to the wrong audience.
Then, in the way it simplifies consistency, a DAM ensures that all your content will always contain correct terminology, proper disclaimers, and have all the right updated terms and conditions outlined.
5. Sales enablement
At the end of the day, business success is measured in revenue, and it’s true: marketing technology can – and should – directly fuel sales. So of course, martech platforms that bridge the gap between an enterprise’s sales and marketing teams fall under the category of sales enablement technology.
According to G2, sales enablement is a class of tools and technology that “provide a repository for marketing collateral and sales playbooks to supply sales representatives with content that is productive, useful, and opportune during all aspects of the selling cycle.”
With all the ways that marketers can leverage DAM technology to empower sales teams and create and direct content that resonates with customers, a DAM platform is both marketing and sales enablement technology, rolled into one software solution. It transforms the sales process for all sellers – field sales representatives, distributors, and resellers.
First of all, a DAM directly increases sales. As a single (and mobile) source of truth for all things pertaining to product information and branding, it is a powerful knowledge-transfer tool for geographically scattered revenue teams. Remote and field sales teams move quickly through the training without having to leave their territories. This reduces onboarding times, translating to sales professionals reaching full functionality more quickly, bringing in revenue far sooner than those who represent companies who rely on traditional tools and processes.
By taking out the administrative tasks out of the sales processes, a modern DAM gives every seller more time to scout and pursue opportunities. And, as leads move through the sales funnel, a DAM helps ensure the delivery of relevant, personalized content to the right people, at the right time.
Using a DAM, it is quick and effortless to update ecommerce sites and all other sales channels with the right product and branding imagery, information, and other assets. This reduces speed-to-market at every single point of sale.
The days of relationship selling are dwindling; seeing is believing. A DAM is designed to provide everyone – users as well as the audiences they target – with important visual experiences. And, combining the power of a CMS and a DAM, you can personalize content with the right images and other visual assets to provide sellers with what they need to stand out among competition.
The year 2020 was one for the books. At the very least, it was the ultimate test for your existing marketing stack.
Just like no one could have anticipated the pandemic that has plagued 2020, none of us have any idea what the next shakeup will be. We can only prepare as best as we can, by getting the right technology platforms in place.
If your existing digital ecosystem doesn’t provide your marketers with a centralized inventory of assets and content, process simplification, end-to-end collaboration, easy governance, and sales enablement, then it is time to zero in on solutions that will.
Commerce increasingly happens in the digital realm, and digital marketing is king. So, you need modern technology to reach your full potential – both in planning for potentially disruption, and to differentiate your business from other market players even when it’s business as usual.